Mechi Netralaya Kakarbhitta Football Training Center’s Bikash Rai (left) in action against Armed Police Force Club’s Aashish Lama during a Khaptad Gold Cup quarterfinal football match at the Dhangadhi Stadium in Dhangadhi on Saturday. Photo: Dil Bahadur Chhatyal/ Republica
DHANGADHI, Jan 13: Mechi Netralaya Kakarbhitta Football Training Center has advanced into the semifinals of the ongoing Khaptad Gold Cup football tournament defeating the departmental team Armed Police Force (APF) Club 2-1 in Dhangadhi on Saturday.
In a highly-competitive first quarterfinal match played at the Dhangadhi Stadium, Kakarbhitta scored the winning goal with three minutes from time to secure its place in the last four.
The A-Division outfit, APF, had taken the lead in the ninth minute of the match through Yuvraj Khadka, but could not protect the lead. Khadka scored the first goal of the match converting in a long pass from Shyam Nepali.
Kakarbhitta got a good chance to equalize in the 26th minute, but APF keeper saved it. Bishwas Shrestha hit a good shot from outside the box, but APF keeper Raju Nagarkoti made a diving save.
Kakarbhitta finally got a goal back in the 41st minute as Shrestha got a pass from Bishal Rai, and Shrestha dribbled past defense line and even the goalkeeper and placed the ball into the empty post.
Kakarbhitta got another chance to take a lead in the game in first minute of the first half injury time, but missed it. Shrestha hit a free-kick which was saved by the APF keeper, but Khamir Gilson could not guide the ball into the goal post.
Karkarbhitta was in the thick of things in the second half as well as it missed a good chance in the 61st minute. Bishnu Sunar hit a free-kick and Rai beat the offside trap, but his shot went off target.
Kakarbhitta finally scored the winning goal with three minutes from time as Bishal Rai hit a rebound from a corner from six yards out to win the game for Kakarbhitta.
Kakarbhitta head coach Karna Thapa Magar said that even though the performance of the players could not be as expected in the first half, they looked motivated after scoring the equalizer.
“We were successful to win the match despite playing poor in the first half as we played with motivation after scoring the equalizer,’’ Magar said.
He expressed confidence that the team will play well in the upcoming semifinal match as well.
APF head coach Rajendra Tamang said that his team had to lose the game because of the team’s poor performance. “The players were doing well until we scored the first goal. After scoring the goal, the players looked under pressure to score the second. They could not play in our own rhythm,’’ Tamang said. “The opposition team played attacking football after they scored the equalizer and our combination was poor.’’
After the win, Kakarbhitta will now take on the winner of the invited team Three Star Club and Chyasal Youth Club.
A-Division winner Manang Marshyangdi Club will take on the other departmental team Nepal Police Club in the second semifinal on Sunday.